The Zillman Art Museum located in downtown Bangor opened a new exhibition on Oct. 27 titled, “Living Windows: An Immersive Media Installation by Gene A. Felice and Kimathi Moore.” Running through May 1, 2021, the art experience is free and open to the public, bringing contemporary art to the local community.
“We have a very defined mission and focus for the museum,” Executive Director and Curator for the museum George Kinghorn said. “In our changing exhibition program, we are working with established artists who have a reputation, and we find them by scouting out a wide range of sources. We are mindful of creating a diverse experience, and we want to cover the whole spectrum of contemporary art. ‘Living Windows’ is more experimental, it involves a video and sound for a complete picture.”
One of 12 exhibitions each year, “Living Windows” includes new media work that is centered around micro and macro algae in aquatic ecosystems throughout Maine, California and North Carolina. The immersive experience includes video and sound for viewers to watch and listen as bodies of water flow into Earth’s oceans. The artists included in the exhibition are Gene A Felice II, who provided the visual multimedia artwork and video, and Kimathi Moore who collaborated with Felice to create accompanying sounds for her media display.
“When you enter the space, there are elements that are always changing at various points, making it very engaging for the viewer to witness,” Kinghorn said. “The space transforms because of the light projected on the objects. You are immersed in this moving piece through video and it is an installation piece where different components are coming together in one experience of art.”
Felice and Moore created this work specifically for the exhibition, in order to respond to the gallery space and design the project for the concept and theme. Felice’s work involves video pieces and projections mapped on the walls with 3D printed objects that are inspired by algae. Felice is a former University of Maine professor who teaches at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, and Kimathi Moore is an electronic artist in Asheville, North Carolina.
“We wanted to present a video exhibition, and we haven’t done a lot of new media and digital work in the past so we wanted to give people a full picture of contemporary art,” Kinghorn said. “I wanted something that could be up for a long period of time because it’s labor intensive. We contacted Gene Felice and began working on an idea for the show, going through a number of revisions for the concept, agreeing on one, and producing it.”
The museum hosts 12 exhibitions annually which feature contemporary artists from all over the country, and the exhibitions are changed out every four months with new shows. There are five galleries in total at the museum, and “Living Windows” is currently located in the Zillman Gallery.
“There is an environmental aspect to the show,” Kinghorn said. “The work explores the intersection of science and technology, of art research and science. The video is a form of digital storytelling and is viewed in the space of the exhibition.”
The Zillman Museum focuses on displaying contemporary art in their galleries that can leave a lasting impression. Kinghorn’s as curator involves to finding new artists, planning exhibitions, creating floor plans and scheduling each show. Most of the exhibitions put on by the museum are planned up to three years in advance, requiring time for creating the art, practicing and finding a strategic layout for the work to be displayed.
“Experiencing works of art sometimes cannot be translated into electronic means or reproductions,” Kinghorn said. “Subtleties like the scale or surface treatment of art are hard to capture without seeing the work face to face, which is why we are so grateful that we are open again. We want people to have the opportunity to add brightness during this challenging time and experience art live and directly.”
The museum is adhering to state guidelines and is only allowing a limited number of guests in the museum at a time to ensure the safety of others. It was reopened on Aug. 4 after the pandemic shutdown, and visitors from over 30 states have come to experience the art since.
“Not only are we serving the local and university community, but we are also reaching a wider audience because we are the only art museum in the region,” Kinghorn said. “People are coming from all over to visit Maine, [and] they want to spend time in a place with a lower number of COVID-19 cases and experience enriching things.”
The museum is open from Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and is located at 40 Harlow Street in Bangor. To learn more information about the exhibit or guidelines for visiting, please go to www.zam.umaine.edu.